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Mexican President Calderon to return to violence-plagued Juarez

By Nick Valencia, CNN
Marchers in Juarez protest President Calderon's actions in the city.
Marchers in Juarez protest President Calderon's actions in the city.
  • Calderon visited Juarez last week to discuss slayings of 15 people
  • Latest visit will be his third since taking office in 2006
  • Calderon's resignation has been sought by residents
  • He is leading a campaign to rid Mexico of drug trafficking

(CNN) -- Mexican President Felipe Calderon will return to Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, for the second time in as many weeks on Wednesday morning, a spokesman for the municipal police department said.

"For security reasons, details are nonexistent," police department spokesman Jacinto Seguro said.

Calderon will attend a meeting with local, state and federal officials, as well as civic and human rights groups, on Wednesday in Ciudad Juarez, which has been plagued by violence stemming from drug cartels.

The January 31 killings in southern Juarez of 15 people, most of whom were students with no ties to organized crime, has sparked outrage across the country. The slayings, which occurred at a house party, are thought to be the result of bad intelligence by a cartel and the gang that carried out the killings.

President Calderon, who has faced mounting pressure this month from Juarez residents to resign, will be visiting the city for the third time since assuming power in December 2006.

Last week in Juarez, Calderon apologized to the families of the 15 people killed and promised residents that their input would form part of the strategy against drug-related violence.

Residents of Juarez attempting to highlight the growing frustration with Calderon's war against organized crime took to the streets by the hundreds on Saturday. Many held signs targeted at Calderon reading, "Assassin."

On Tuesday, police said a business owner and his 24-year-old secretary were found slain inside a business near southern Juarez at 11 a.m.

"It's not new that the cartels target business owners, but killing his secretary, that's something that you don't see too often," Seguro said.

Also Tuesday, 20 students found skipping class and drinking in the street were detained by police as part of an effort to curtail unlawful street activity, Seguro said.

Violence in Juarez comes amid a backdrop of vastly increased numbers of homicides nationwide, as drug cartels battle each other and the Mexican government steps up its efforts to combat them.

The government has not released official figures, but national media say 7,600 Mexicans lost their lives in the war on drugs in 2009. Calderon said last year that 6,500 Mexicans died in drug violence in 2008.

Officials say more than 16,000 Mexicans have died since Calderon declared war on the drug cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.